The Duchess of Sussex has apologised for misleading the court after her press secretary revealed the extent of her involvement with the writing of biography, Finding Freedom.
Joseph Knauf told the court that the book was “discussed directly with the duchess multiple times in person and over email,” as part of ongoing correspondence with authors Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand. His comment appeared to deviate from a statement by the Sussexes’ lawyers last September which said the couple “did not collaborate with the authors on the book, nor were they interviewed for it”.
The evidence has been heard as part of an ongoing court battle between Meghan Markle and British tabloid The Mail on Sunday which published portions of a letter she wrote to her estranged father after her 2018 marriage to Prince Harry.
She sued the publisher for breach of privacy and copyright. A High Court judge ruled in her favor in February, saying publication of the letter Meghan wrote to her father, Thomas Markle, was “manifestly excessive and hence unlawful.”
However, Associated Newspapers is trying to overturn that decision at the Court of Appeal. The publisher argues that Meghan wrote the letter knowing it might be published and made private information public by cooperating with Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand, authors of “Finding Freedom.”
The legal team are attempting to prove that the letter was part of a pattern of the duchess seeking to shape public opinion. Knauf also told the court that the duchess called her father “Daddy” in the letter, hoping that this would “pull at the heartstrings” because she was aware it might be made public.
Meghan apologised to the court for forgetting she had spoken to Scobie and Durand. In a statement she said: “I apologise to the court for the fact that I had not remembered these exchanges at the time. I had absolutely no wish or intention to mislead the defendant or the court.”
“I accept that Mr Knauf did provide some information to the authors for the book and that he did so with my knowledge, for a meeting that he planned for with the authors in his capacity as communications secretary,” she added, stressing “the extent of the information he shared is unknown to me.”
Associated Newspapers says Knauf’s evidence also undermines Meghan’s claim that she did not intend the letter to be seen by anyone but her father.